Disasters and the American Red Cross Bring the World Closer

By Marcie Kobriger, WBAY-TV 2 – Click HERE to see video of story

This most recent rash of severe weather has put an additional strain on an already strapped American Red Cross.

Although it’s hundreds of miles away from any recent tornado touchdowns, the Lakeland Chapter of the Red Cross is anticipating its response to the disasters.

Jody Weyers knows well, in times of disaster the world becomes a little smaller. As volunteer and communications director at the Lakeland Chapter, she’s been fielding phone calls from people ready to answer the call to volunteer and from local people worried about loved ones in areas devastated by recent severe weather.

While the situations in Joplin, Missouri, and Minneapolis are still unfolding, the local chapters are in a holding pattern.

“The American Red Cross is assessing exactly what the situation is, and then from there communication will go out to the chapters throughout the United States and we’ll determine what the needs are,” Weyers said.

With the death toll in Joplin rising, its already been determined a number of mental health workers will be needed on-site.

Two local volunteers who had been deployed to flooding in Louisiana are already on their way.

“Some of us will also be going into the neighborhoods to provide emotional support where the people are,” Shirley Senarighi told us by phone.

The Lakeland Chapter expects to mobilize more volunteers soon and is asking the people of Northeast Wisconsin to give – in order to help people here and those who may be closer than you think.

“People have loved ones all over. You think it’s so far away but it’s really not,” Weyers said.

The Heartbreak to Hope telethon for the American Red Cross starts on WBAY-TV 2 at noon and runs through 10:30 Tuesday, May 24.

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